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In order to make full use of modern-day machine-to-machine (M2M) technology, companies need hardware, connectivity and a platform for data, Bastolich says. While M2M isn’t itself a new technology, it has received a recent boost from wireless systems. “We’re seeing added complexities of cell and wireless connectivity, rather than being dependent on a landline,” she says.
Cellular technology is increasingly becoming IP-based, linking it to the growing world of the Internet of Things. The internet is the key to linking a broad range of devices, combined with its ability to deliver software and systems in the cloud. In the process, users can obtain unprecedented access to data.
“We need to monitor the device in the field,” says Bastolich, “but what are we going to do with the data once we collect it?” The cloud, she adds, provides an answer.
A large part of the evolution of M2M involves the shrinking role of humans in accessing and acting on data. At the same time, Bastolich says, people will never be left out of the equation. The goal of M2M is to make operations more efficient, not eliminate human involvement.
M2M technology tends to be horizontal in its applications, but it’s also evolving to serve particular industries, particularly utilities and energy. The medical-device arena is also benefiting from the ability of M2M to allow for connected products, Bastolich says.
The supply chain has yet to make full use of M2M technology. “That’s still evolving,” she says, “although there are some successful deployments.”
Expect the full value of M2M to be realized within the next five years, Bastolich says. It should prove instrumental in “increasing our lifestyle for humanity, bringing efficiency to our environment and helping us from a regulatory perspective.”
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